By Steve Heaney, MC, Damien Lewis
2,000 blood-crazed rebels. 26 elite British soldiers. One man's explosive true story.Airlifted into the heart of the Sierra Leone jungle in the midst of the bloody civil war in 2000, 26 elite operators from the secret British elite unit X Platoon were sent into combat against thousands of Sierra Leonean rebels.Notorious for their brutality, the rebels were manned with captured UN armour, machine-guns and grenade-launchers, while the men of X Platoon were kitted with pitiful supplies of ammunition, malfunctioning rifles, and no body armour, grenades or heavy weapons.Intended to last only 48 hours, the mission mutated into a 16-day siege against the rebels, as X Platoon were denied the back-up and air support they had been promised, and were forced to make their stand alone. The half-starved soldiers, surviving on bush tucker, fought with grenades made from old food-tins and defended themselves with barricades made of sharpened bamboo-sticks, tipped in poison given to them by local villagers.Sergeant Steve Heaney won the Military Cross for his initiative in taking command after the platoon lost their commanding officer. OPERATION MAYHEM recounts his amazing untold true story, full of the rough-and-ready humour and steely fortitude with which these elite soldiers carried out operations far into hostile terrain.
By Michael Hastings
The inspiration for the upcoming movie WAR MACHINE, starring Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton and Ben Kingsley (streaming on Netflix from 26 May).General Stanley McChrystal, the innovative commander of international and US forces in Afghanistan, was living large. Loyal staff liked to call him a 'rock star'. During a spring 2010 trip across Europe to garner additional Allied help for the war effort, McChrystal was accompanied by journalist Michael Hastings of ROLLING STONE. For days, Hastings looked on as McChrystal and his staff let off steam, partying and openly bashing the Obama administration for what they saw as a lack of leadership. When Hastings' piece appeared a few months later, it set off a political firestorm: McChrystal was ordered to Washington, where he was unceremoniously fired.In THE OPERATORS, Hastings gives us a shocking behind-the-scenes portrait of Allied military commanders, their high-stakes manoeuvres and often bitter bureaucratic in-fighting. He takes us on patrol missions in the Afghan hinterlands and to hotel bars where spies and expensive hookers participate in nation-building gone awry, drawing back the curtain on a hellish complexity and, he fears, an unwinnable war.
On Thin Ice
By Hugh Rowland
From floating ice to snowstorms - meet the adrenalin junkie and death-defying star of the History Channel and Five USA's hit show ICE ROAD TRUCKERS.Every year a fleet of men travel to the Arctic Circle, a region heavily endowed with natural resources. Locating the abundance of natural gas, conflict-free diamonds and gold is relatively easy - but extracting and transporting these goods is another matter entirely. The truckers picked to deliver these precious commodities spend two months traveling hundreds of miles on a naturally formed road of ice. It is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.For more than 20 years, Hugh Rowland has survived the ice roads like no other. Known by the ice road trucking community as 'The Polar Bear' - a reference to his legendary stamina, strong personality, bearish attitude and prowess on the ice - Rowland has performed amazing feats and survived spectacular wrecks to become the undisputed king of the ice road truckers. Each year when the temperature plummets to -70°C, Rowland leaves his family, home and successful excavation business north of Vancouver, Canada, to drive 1900 miles to Yellowknife, where he throttles up for another ice road season. ON THIN ICE traces the history of ice road trucking, the preparation for the trek and follows Rowland through his nine week journey across the infamous Ice Road. From the first snowstorm to the final thaw, this adrenalin-filled book follows his journey to the edge of endurance and back. It's an extraordinary look at an extreme life.
One Of A Kind
From the moment he first stepped onto a test pitch, cricket fans around the world were dazzled by Doug Walters' red-blooded strokes, his immaculate timing and his great enjoyment of the game. But they also loved him because he refused to be a star. He drank, he smoked, he loved a punt. The boy from Dungog was one of us.In -One of a Kind£, the man many regard to be one of Australia's greatest batsmen ever, talks frankly with Ashley Mallett about his years in cricket, his successes and his slumps. He doesn't hold back on his thoughts about the game's administration, the pampering of modern day players and selection decisions. And he makes some bold predictions about the future of the game.Doug Walters thrilled the nation with his batting. This is his story.
Other People's Daughters
By Ruth Brandon
A rich and fascinating account of the lives of Victorian governesses, exploring nineteenth-century attitudes to women, family and class.If a nineteenth century lady had neither a husband to support her nor money of her own, almost her only recourse was to live in someone else's household and educate their children - in particular, their daughters. Marooned within the confines of other people's lives, neither servants nor family members, governesses occupied an uncomfortable social limbo. And being poor and insignificant, their papers were mostly lost. But a few journals and letters have come down to us, giving a vivid record of what it was to be a lone professional woman at a time when such a creature officially did not exist.
Once A Jolly Bagman: Memoirs
By Alistair McAlpine
As the Treasurer of the Conservative Party throughout the Thatcher years, Alistair McAlpine became a close friend and a trusted adviser of the Prime Minister. From his unique vantage point he gives an insider's view on the differing emotions of those years. In ONCE A JOLLY BAGMAN he turns the Tory party of Thatcher inside out with astonishing candour and wit.